The Falcons finished the 2012 season with an impressive 7-1 record. Even a casual glance into those home games reveals that it's not all that impressive after-all.
Summation: Lucky break after lucky break after lucky break..
All week we've been hearing how good Atl is home. Well, I was curious, so let's dig in:
Week 2) vs. Denver – W, 27-21
This game was insanely close despite 4 Denver turn-overs.
And… despite those 4 turn-overs, Denver still out-gained Atl in rushing and passing.
Peyton Manning was clearly not yet comfortable; his arm strength was about 75% of where it is now. It took huge plays and a late 3rd down conversion to prevent giving the ball back to Denver late in the game.
Kudos on 0 Atl turn-overs but still an unimpressive "quality" victory imo.
an elite team with a +4 turn-over differential at home should probably win by more than 1 possession.
Week 4) vs. Carolina – W, 30-28
This games should have ended as a Carolina win, as the Panthers were on the verge of scoring an out-of-reach-putting TD with less than 2 minutes. And then….
Fumble / turn-over as Cam fumbled away a sure win near the goal line.
Still then… it took a hail mary to get in field goal range in the closing minutes to luck out a 2pt win.
The good; Atl mustered 370 yards passing is deceivingly good – but still surrendered 7 sacks
An objective fan would no doubt argue that Carolina outplayed ATL – in ATL.
Week 6) vs. Oakland – W, 23-20
Despite 3 Oakland turn-overs…they still passed for 353 yards and rushed for another 130.
Once again… it took game changing turn-overs for Atl to get the win.
A late pick six, on an awful throw and terrible decision by Palmer; and a 55 yard field goal in the closing minutes to seal a win.
No doubt the Falcons were lucky to get a very ugly win against one of the worst teams in the NFL, at home.
Week 9) vs Dallas – W, 19-13
A relatively solid performance against an average team (on paper).
Atl appeared to have a balanced attack, but could not finish drives, missed 2 field goals and needed some monster plays to beat Dallas. Despite a pretty clean game with 300+ yards passing and 100+ yards rushing… it was still a 1 possession game at the end, and it took a debatable defensive holding / automatic 1st down call to to extend the clock milking drive and stop Dallas from having a real chance to move back down the field.
Sure, this was an Ok win, but again, nothing remotely dominating about it – a match-up that looked as though it would be even at best on a neutral field. Against a team that got dominated in Seattle.
Week 11) vs Arizona – W, 23-19
And just when you thought the Oakland game was ugly, they slip to a new low.
What an epic mess of a disaster of a game.
A 4 point game despite Az totaling 178 yards of total offense.
I remember watching this game and thinking I’d be sick to my stomach to call that a win.
This was probably the "worst win" of any team in the NFL this year; yes, worse than the fail marry. I’ll leave it at that. They almost lost a game that declined to field an offense.
Week 13) vs New Orleans, W 28-13
Having not caught much of this game, it initially appeared to be a good win… until I dug into it.
24 points, 2 possession win. Not bad right?
However, it took 5 Brees interceptions.
A play-off caliber offense vs the worst statistical defense in the NFL, at home with 5 turn-overs (and none themselves – +5 t/o differential) should score a LOT more points, and wind by more than 2 possessions.
Instead, despite those 5 picks, NO still won the T.O.P. battle, had nearly doubled up the falcons in total yards.
Atl was 1 of 11 on third down…
Ryan just barely mustered a 50% completion rate.
Week 15) vs NYG – W, 34-0
/golfclap. A strong win and finally a performance worthy of a team heading to the post-season.
New York laid an egg and got whooped. This is what they should have been doing in all the other home games against bad teams. I give them credit for this impressive performance against the severely bi-polar Giants.
Week 17) vs Tampa Bay, L 22-17
And finally after putting together a strong home game, they follow it up with… a dud.
Granted there was nothing to lose by losing which no doubt came into effect… but good teams that keep their starters in should win home games against inferior teams. Unless of course they really aren't that inferior…
There was no fluke factor here – TB just straight outplayed ATL, despite ATL once again winning the turn-over battle.
I submit to you, one heck of a paper-tiger 7-1 home resume’
This run includes but one win over a play-off team, and you can rest assured if they replayed that game now, (vs Denver) even in Atlanta, they would probably be 6 point dogs.
This team clearly thrives on creating / getting lucky turn-overs, not turning it over themselves, and waiting for opponents to make mistakes.
Despite a win over Washington that featured an incredible amount of missed opportunites, I still give the edge to the ’Hawks as they really do take care of the football well.